Charleston, South Carolina Home Buyers FAQs

Get Your Answers with the RARE Charleston Team

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or an experienced real estate investor in Charleston, it's always a good idea to brush up on your real estate know-how before you begin your home search. After all, there are a lot of i's to dot and t's to cross, and it can be easy to let the stress pile up. But don't worry—you're not alone! Get prepared for your buying journey beforehand by browsing some of our FAQs, and give the RARE Charleston Team a call if you have any questions. 

1. Where Should I Start the Process?

  • Your finances are the most important place to start. Be sure to set a budget and outline what you'll be able to afford for a down payment, then check out our handy mortgage calculator to see what a monthly mortgage payment might look like for you.
  • Once you've got your finances under control, start exploring the area! We offer tons of in-depth guides to the neighborhoods around Charleston.

2. How Do I Know What to Look for in a Home?

  • This is totally up to you! Take some time to think about what’s important to you in a new home—your work commute, the school districts, highway access, nearby amenities—and narrow down your search based on this criteria.
  • Compile a list of the features you both want and need, from square footage to style to overall condition. Having a good idea of what you’re looking for will save you time and tours of homes that don't meet your criteria.
  • Browse our Charleston featured listings to get some inspiration, or start searching homes by amenities and features if you already know what you're looking for!

3. Why Should I Use an Agent?

  • A good agent can guide you through the financial and legal complexities of the Charleston real estate process, from finding the right lenders to figuring out your monthly payments.
  • A local agent will be a Charleston expert, which will help save you time and narrow down your home search easily.
  • We can also help you find the right price range for your income and finances, then explain the pros and cons of different types of mortgages.
  • Finally, we'll be around to help you sort out to confusing closing paperwork, and answer all of your questions along the way.

4. Where and How Can I Get a Loan?

  • Mortgage loans are typically available through banks, credit unions, private mortgage companies, and government state lenders.
  • Your agent can help connect you some of our preferred lenders in the area. You can also shop for lenders on your own, but make sure you take some time to search around and compare rates to find the best deal for you. If you think you might qualify for special aid, local government agencies can be a good idea to find out more about programs that might be available to you.

5. What if I Have Bad Credit or No Down Payment?

  • Don't worry—you still have plenty of options. Namely, you might qualify for a federal mortgage program or local home buying assistance program.
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) helps home buyers by offering insured loans. This means that if the buyer defaults, the lender will still get their money. Insured loans encourage lenders to work with more buyers regardless of their credit or available down payment.
  • Many state and local governments offer additional programs for buyers who meet various criteria or are buying within individual communities.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers many assistance programs to home buyers.

6. Once I Find My Home, What Will I Have to Pay Up Front?

  • Earnest money: Think of earnest money as the "security deposit" you pay when you submit your offer. It proves to the seller that you are serious, and after your offer is accepted, it's simply applied to your down payment or closing costs.
  • Down Payment: This is a percentage of the cost of your home, and the amount will depend on your loan and your home's cost; government programs can help you decrease this amount if needed.
  • Closing Costs: These are typically low for buyers and represent the fees associated with paperwork and lender charges.

7. What Other Costs Will I Pay?

  • Other costs can include things like utilities, HOA or condo fees, and property taxes—all of which are typically included in your mortgage payment.
  • Ask your agent about additional fees associated with your particular home, community, or neighborhood.

I Still Have Questions!

No problem! Contact us today, and our team can answer any and all of your home-buying questions about homes for sale and real estate in Charleston or its many communities.

Want more information? Learn more about buying a home in Charleston!

Charleston Home Buying Resources